ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Navy Guided Missile Frigate ASLAT, along with embarked Z9EC Helicopter, visited Saint Petersburg, Russia, as part of overseas deployment to Mediterranean and European regions.
Earlier, the Ship had visited Port Aqaba (Jordan), Algiers (Algeria) and Portsmouth (UK). It may be worth mentioning here that this is the first ever Pakistan Navy’s footprint in Baltic Sea since independence and is, therefore, of strategic significance for Pakistan and Russian Federation.
Upon arrival, the PNS ASLAT was warmly welcomed and received by the ambassador of Pakistan, defence attaché (Pakistan), deputy head of Leningrad Naval Base, head of international military cooperation, department of western military district and liaison officer from Leningrad Naval Base, along with Russian Federation Navy Officers.
The Russian Federation Navy (RFN) band was present on the jetty and played melodious welcoming tunes. The Ship’s arrival was attended by Reps of local Russian and Pakistani media/ news channels. A short media interaction with the mission commander, ambassador of Pakistan and commanding officer was also held onboard.
The PNS ASLAT Port call to Russia was planned after receiving formal invitation from Russian Federation Naval commander-in-chief for participation in Navy Day Celebrations of Russian Navy at Saint Petersburg.
It is great honour for the Pakistan Navy and recognition of Pakistan’s strategic significance that the PNS ASLAT was the only foreign warship which participated in Russian Navy’s mega annual event of Navy Day Parade. President of Russia Vladimir Putin was the chief guest on the occasion.
Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, Vice Chief of Naval Staff, represented the Pakistan Navy at Navy Day Parade along with Commodore Muhammad Faisal Abbasi, Mission Commander onboard the PNS ASLAT..
During three days port call, the PN delegation headed by Commodore Muhammad Faisal Abbasi held meetings with vice governor Saint Petersburg and commander Leningrad Naval Base. Moreover, the Cross-Ship visits were also conducted with RFN which helped in enhancing mutual understanding. The PNS ASLAT was also opened for Russian citizens for strengthening people to people contact.
The PNS ASLAT port call to Saint Petersburg will help in strengthening bilateral relations between naval forces of both countries. Pakistan Navy maiden deployment to Baltic Sea re-affirms the Government of Pakistan determination to promote bilateral ties and defence cooperation with all friendly regional and extra-regional countries.